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People News: NARS; HDR

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The North American Rail Shippers Association (NARS) has elected new officers, honored members and awarded scholarships. In addition, HDR has hired a new Federal Transportation Director.

At its September annual meeting, NARS elected the following officers (pictured left, from top): President Patrick McGrath, McGrath Ground Logistics; First Vice President Bruce C. Mann, Port of Houston; Second Vice President John Meyers, DM Bowman Company; Secretary Kate Luce, Mississippi Export Railroad; Treasurer Ray Hufnagel, Plastic Express; and Immediate Past President Tom Tisa, CSX.

NARS also recognized members for their leadership and contributions to the rail shipping community and the association. Craig Longardner, Corporate Director of Logistics for Steel Dynamics, Inc., was selected as 2021 Person of the Year for his “outstanding service both to NARS and the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS),” one of five regional North American associations comprising NARS. (The others include: the Pacific Northwest Association of Rail Shippers, Southwest Association of Rail Shippers, Northeast Association of Rail Shippers, and the Southeast Association of Rail Shippers.)

Jeffrey Usher, Assistant Vice President in the Association of American Railroads Safety and Operations Department, and Dana Burleigh, Vice President of Lynch Logistics, were co-recipients of the 2021 Edward R. Hamberger Lifetime Achievement Award. Usher serves on the NARS Board of Directors, and Burleigh just completed 10 years of service to NARS, including a term as president.

“Craig, Jeffrey and Dana have done so much for NARS and our regional associations over the years,” said newly elected NARS President Patrick McGrath. “Not only have they supported our association, but they are also great role models and mentors for people entering our profession.”

Additionally, NARS announced its 2021 college scholarship recipients. They are:
• Connor Bente, University of California, Los Angeles
• Clara Blitz, Towson University
• Jeffrey Collins, University of North Texas
• Zachary Crawford, California State University Maritime Academy
• Nhu Hoang, University of North Texas
• Garrett Jackson, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
• Usama Khalil, Rutgers University
• Nicholas Mayorga, Liberty University
• Matthew Parkes, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
• Lisa Tuivavalagi, Wayne State University

“We are pleased to support these outstanding students with their college studies,” McGrath said. “Our NARS Scholarship Committee noted that the caliber of these students is truly remarkable, and they represent a bright future for the industry.”

The next NARS annual meeting is scheduled to be held May 9-11, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo.

HDR has appointed Eric Venable as Federal Transportation Director. He will lead business and staff development for transportation, bringing to the role more than 25 years of experience in operations, finance, strategic marketing, business expansion, client and subcontractor relations, and contract negotiations for federal, public, and private maritime and industrial clients.

Venable served most recently as the Director of Ports and Maritime for Burns & McDonnell, where he managed a multi-million-dollar national practice serving private industrial shipyards, federal Navy facilities and regional ports authorities.

“Amidst new guidance at the federal level combined with changing client and community needs, Eric will use his proven, adaptive leadership to develop tailored solutions,” HDR Transportation Business Development Director Rick Pilgrim said. “He will provide holistic, full life-cycle guidance from planning and funding to procurement, design and maintenance to streamline the delivery and resiliency of federal transportation-related projects.”

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